As industries across the globe have had to adjust to the economic, societal and health challenges of 2020, there's no denying businesses are preparing (and hoping for) a fresh start in the new year. With 2020 now at a close, we look onward to a year of possibilities and positive outcomes after a year that has undoubtedly impacted how businesses do work. The staffing industry, in particular, has some notable trends to look out for in 2021 that come as a direct result of the challenged faced in 2020.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
2020 has put a global spotlight on inequality in the workplace. As a result, staffing firms are addressing these challenges that exist in the industry. 2021 is primed to see a heavy increase in diversity in the workplace, both from an internal staff perspective, as well as from a hiring perspective for the benefit of candidates and clients. While implementing diversity standards in the workplace isn't just the right thing to do, it's also beneficial for your business.
Two-thirds of staffing professionals believe diverse organizations are more effective than their counterparts." - Bullhorn
According to Recruiting Brief, diversity in 2021 will not only come from the traditional sense, referring to people's backgrounds and where they come from, but diversity will also come from hiring those who think and approach their work differently. Employers are seeking "disrupters" and creative minds who can help grow business after 2020's economic downturn.
Permanence to Remote Staffing
Staffing firms were forced to downsize operations as the economy came to a halt amidst the global pandemic. Despite these challenges, including government lockdowns and stay-at-home orders across the country, staffing firms were still able to stay afloat, thanks to the ability to work remotely. In Bullhorn's GRID 2020 COVID-19 Staffing Industry Impact Survey, it was noted that 30% of responders indicated no real shift in business performance in their staffing firms. IT and healthcare staffing firms, in particular, witnessed the most stable performances last year and suffered the fewest losses.
Working from home became all too familiar for many in 2020 and that trend is set to continue well into 2021 and beyond. Within the staffing industry, the need for transitioning consultants to remote work became essential, and was even seen as a priority. The demand for remote work has sky-rocketed, and agencies and clients are now fully understanding the cost savings, efficiencies and upticks in productivity that come as a result of remote employment.
Strengthened Relationships with Clients
While building and growing relationships has always been an important part of the staffing industry, focusing on client relationships is becoming the new #1 priority. In 2019 and 2018, candidate acquisition was often seen as a top focus due to a talent shortage in such a competitive landscape. However, as unemployment numbers reached historic high in 2020 and a shortage of candidates no longer became an issue, staffing firms are shifting focus to growing better, stronger relationships with clients, as well as winning new ones.
COVID-19 Impact Survey: Global Recruitment Insights & Data by Bullhorn
Other Notable Trends
In addition to the top trends set to serve as the foundation of the staffing landscape in 2021, here are some additional trends we expect to see on the horizon:
- Increase in AI and automated tools for recruiting
- Heavier focus on candidate experience (i.e. job application and interview process)
- Dedication to employer branding in a competitive industry
- Increased flexibility in the workplace